Tag Archive > Dicky Gonzales

2009 Foreign Player Rundown

» 11 November 2009 » In npb » 7 Comments

By my count, there were 78 foreign players (including ikusei players) under contract to NPB teams in 2009. Some of them will be back for 2010, others will not. So far, I’ve counted 18 players that will remain with their teams for next year, 36 that are leaving, and 24 that we’re still waiting to hear on.

Despite my best efforts, there is a reasonable probability that I left someone out or have an out-of-date detail. If you spot something of that nature, please leave a comment. On with the show…

Yomiuri

  • Staying: Dicky Gonzales, Wirfin Obispo, Levi Romero, Alex Ramirez, Seung-Yeop Lee, Marc Kroon
  • Gone: Adrian Burnside, Edgardo Alfonzo
  • Unknown: Seth Greisinger, Yi-Hao Lin, Yi-Fan Lee

Ramirez no longer counts against the foreign player limit, which gives the Giants a little extra flexibility. He’s already re-signed on a two-year deal. You have to figure that Obispo and Gonzales will be back, which would only leave two ichi-gun rosters spots available. I would guess that Kroon is more likely to return than Greisinger, and Lee is on his way out. Kroon will have his option picked up, while Lee’s contract doesn’t expire until next season. Greisinger didn’t appear in the Japan Series and it’s possible that he won’t be back. The Giants don’t need much this off season, though we’ll probably see them go after some depth guys.

Chunichi

  • Staying: Wei-Yin Chen, Tony Blanco, Nelson Payano, Maximo Nelson
  • Gone: Tomas de la Rosa, Byung-Gyu Lee
  • Unknown:

Chunichi got outstanding production out Chen and Blanco, and Blanco has already received a new two-year deal. Lee will likely head back to Korea, while de la Rosa will remain with the team in a scouting/advisory capacitiy. Chunichi has been scouting the Dominican and will probably sign some interesting Latin American prospects this winter.

Yakult

  • Staying: Chang Yong Lim
  • Gone: Ricky Barrett
  • Unknown: Hei Chun Lee, Jaime D’Antona, Aaron Guiel

Hanshin

  • Staying: Kai-Wang Cheng
  • Gone: Scott Atchison, Jeff Williams, Kevin Mench, Chris Resop, Aarom Baldiris
  • Unknown: Craig Brazell

Out of this group, only Brazell really contributed anything, and he wants to come back. Hanshin’s search for pitching has already been well-documented, with the Tigers looking to import a starter and two relievers. Hanshin may also try to bring a power-hitting rightfielder to Kansai as well, even if Brazell sticks around.

Hiroshima

  • Staying: Dioni Soriano
  • Gone: Scott Dohmann, Ben Kozlowski, Scott Seabol
  • Unknown: Scott McClain, Colby Lewis, Mike Schultz, Andy Phillips

Hiroshima would like to keep Lewis and Schultz around, but may not be able to, and if the Carp don’t keep Phillips they will have to find a bat to replace him. Hiroshima desperately needs lefthanded pitching, as well. I’m assuming Soriano, who is an ikusei player from the Carp’s Dominican Academy, will get a full year to prove himself.

Yokohama

  • Staying: Stephen Randolph
  • Gone: Tom Mastny, Les Walrond, Dan Johnson, Ryan Glynn
  • Unknown: Wei Chen, Jin Chao Wang

Yokohama is again going to need pitching help, though Randolph’s late-season performance was encouraging. The ‘Stars wave goodbye the rest of this group, though Johnson actually had a decent year aside from a poor batting average, and Walrond looked like he had good enough stuff to last in Japan to me.

Nippon Ham

  • Staying:
  • Gone: Ryan Wing, Luis Jimenez, Jason Botts, Brian Sweeney, Termel Sledge
  • Unknown:

This year’s Pacific League champion didn’t get much production from its foreign lineup outside of Sledge, so it’s no surprise to see this group go. Nippon Ham apparently wanted to keep Sledge, but were too far apart in negotations. They’ll have to find a way to replace his bat in the lineup, and I would expect them to look for pitching depth as well.

Rakuten

  • Staying:
  • Gone: Matt Childers
  • Unknown: Darrell Rasner, Marcus Gwyn, Fernando Seguignol, Todd Linden, Rick Short, On-Yu Lin

Rasner is already under contract for next year, so he’ll be on the payroll but possibly not the roster. Childers is gone after just three appearances with Rakuten’s top team. The rest of the foreign staff had performance issues — Gwyn’s era was pedestrian, Shorts average fell off after years of solid performance, Seguignol looked more like the Orix Seguignol than the Nippon Ham Seguignol, and Linden struck out about one out of every three times to the plate(!). So I could see new manager Marty Brown turning over this whole group. Rakuten could use bullpen help and a big bat to play an infield or outfield corner.

SoftBank

  • Staying: Jose Ortiz, DJ Houlton, Brian Falkenborg, Justin Germano
  • Gone: Kameron Loe, Chris Aguila
  • Unknown: Andrew Touisant

SoftBank got strong contributions from Ortiz, Houlton and Falkenborg, and can reasonably expect more of the same next season. Sadaharu Oh is said to be looking for one more power hitter, to complement Ortiz and supplant aging sluggers Hiroki Kokubo and Nobuhiko Matsunaka. I would expect them to grab a couple of ptichers for depth as well.

Seibu

  • Staying: Min-Che Hsu
  • Gone: Jonah Bayliss, John Wasdin, Hiram Bocachica
  • Unknown: Alex Graman

I’m just taking for granted that Hsu will hang around. He should be shedding his foreign player status one of these years anyway. Graman is probably gone, though he was lights-out in the bullpen when healthy, and I could see him getting another shot. Bayliss was okay for Seibu, so I was a little surprised to see him let go. Seibu will be looking for bullpen help and perhaps a first baseman this offseason. Pete LaForest had been in Seibu’s autumn camp but went home with an injury.

Chiba Lotte

  • Staying
  • Gone: Benny Agbayani, Chase Lambin, Gary Burnham
  • Unknown: Brian Sikorski, Juan Muniz

Agbayani departs after six years in Japan, and I would guess that he’ll retire to a life of scouting. I’ve read that Lotte might offer Sikorski a big pay cut, and thus risk losing him. I don’t expect Lambin or Burnham to be back, though I haven’t seen anything official. Lambin and Burnham won’t be back. Lotte will need a corner infield and outfield bats, and a pitcher or two to round things out.

Orix

  • Staying: Tuffy Rhodes
  • Gone:
  • Unknown: Jon Leicester, Alex Cabrera, Jose Fernandez, Greg LaRocca, Ryan Vogelsong

Rhodes and Cabrera both qualify as native players, so Orix could potentially carry up to six ‘foreign’ players on its active roster. Rhodes will be back, and the Buffaloes are supposedly adding a coaching title to his resume. I think Cabrera will make it back as well. There was speculation on Fernandez when he got hurt was that Orix probably wouldn’t bring him back, but that remains to be seen. I’m guessing Leicester and Vogelsong will be out as well. SoftBank has indicated an interest in LaRocca should he not get another year with Orix.

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Nippon Series Thoughts

» 01 November 2009 » In npb » 2 Comments

The Giants took game one of the Japan Series last night, beating Nippon Ham behind a rather hittable Dicky Gonzales. This is another post I had meant to go to prior to the Series starting, but that’s the way things go some times.

So on to the scattered thoughts and observations…

  • If you would have told me at the beginning of the year that Gonzales would start game one of the Japan Series, I would have laughed pretty hard.
  • Deanna and Gen went to their usual levels of detail in covering game one.
  • Yu Darvish has been out of commission for quite a while now, but he it looks like he’s starting game two for Nippon Ham. Tetsuya Utsumi gets the call for the Giants.
  • Speaking of Darvish, he’s been throwing lefthanded again.
  • I know a game has already been played so it’s too late to say this, but I like Yomiuri’s roster over Nippon Ham’s. I like Yomiuri’s depth in this series.
  • On the other hand, the last time Nippon Ham won the Japan Series (2006), Darvish was partnered at the front of the Figthers’ rotation by Tomoya Yagi, who won the Rookie of the Year award that season. After winning in ’06, Yagi promptly faded into injured-list oblivion, and Darvish became the best pitcher in Japan. This year, Yagi made a comeback, posting a 2.88 ERA in 122 innings, and Ham is back in the Series.
  • It’s interesting to see Nippon Ham playing Yomirui in the Series. Prior to Ham moving to Hokkaido, the Fighters shared the Tokyo Dome with the Giants, and seemed to be operating in Yomiuri’s shadow. It seemed like the Fighters used to frequently sign ex-Giants, but the only notable example I can think of is Hiromitsu Ochiai. Once the Fighters moved to Hokkaido and got out from under the Giants’ shadow, they got competitive.
  • I missed a chance to post on this earlier, but I’ll do so now — when Nippon Ham eliminated Rakuten from the Climax Series, it marked the (latest) end to manager Katsuya Nomura’s career. I wouldn’t call myself a Nomura fan, but he is certainly a character, and as such I suppose this picture of him putting away his uniform for the last time is a little sad. After Nippon Ham’s win, both sides honored Nomura with the traditional celebratory douage (click the link if you don’t know what that is). This is, I think, an important distinction for Japanese baseball from American baseball. Nippon Ham won the game and the series, and it was very much their day, but the winning players and Nippon Ham fans still celebrated Nomura after the game.

I don’t think I’ll be up to watch the game tonight, so if anyone checks it out on justin.tv, please click the ‘watch later’ link, and paste the url into a comment.

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Central League Predictions: How’d I Do?

» 17 October 2009 » In npb » Comments Off

Okay, so now that the regular season is in the books, let’s take a look and see how my Central League and Pacific League predictions played out. We’ll take a look at the Central first and do the Pacific in the next post.

(listed in order of actual results, my predictions are in parentheses)

1. Yomiuri Giants (2) — I picked the Giants to finish second. In 2008 Hanshin led for most of the year, before choking down the stretch, and I thought they’d make it this year. I was dead wrong about that, and the Giants wound up dominating from wire to wire. I thought someone from the secondary group of pitchers would have to step up, but the guys who did weren’t among my three breakout candidates (Kentaro Nishimura, Shun Tohno, and Takahiko Nomaguchi) — they were Yakult castoff Dicky Gonzales and Dominican prospect Wirfin Obispo.

2. Chunichi Dragons (5) — I was way off here. Chunichi put up a mediocre year in 2008, and lost three key contributors (Kenshin Kawakami, Nori Nakamura, Tyrone Woods) and I thought we’d see them slip further this year. Turns out I didn’t respect the Dragons’ depth highly enough. I did, however, correctly identify two of the key players for the Dragons this season, choosing Tony Blanco and Kazuki Yoshimi along with rookie Kei Nomoto. Nomoto was a bit of a disappointment, but Blanco and Yoshimi were outstanding.

3. Yakult Swallows (4) — Yakult took a step forward in 2009, sneaking in to the playoffs despite finishing one game under .500. Norichika Aoki overcame a horrific first half to finish at .303, and Aaron Guiel bounced back from a sub-par 2008 to hit 27 home runs. Two of my key players — Jaime D’Antona (.276, 21 hr) and Yoshinori (121 IP, 3.50 ERA)– were solid, while the other Tatsunori Masubuchi (one game, 12.60 era) was not. Yakult did get outscored by their opponents by 48 runs this year.

4. Hanshin Tigers (1) — My key players, Takahiro Arai and Kevin Mench, failed to meet expectations, and so did the Tigers. Mench’s time in Japan was particularly disastrous, flaming out after only 15 games. Hanshin’s trio of veterans Tomoaki Kanemoto, Akihiro Yano and Tsuyoshi Shimoyanagi started to show some signs of aging as well.

5. Hiroshima Carp (3) –The step forward I envisioned after a solid 2008 season didn’t materialize for the Carp, despite the good vibes from the beautiful new Mazda Stadium. The rotation was solid 1-3 and the Carp added American sluggers Scott McClain and Andy Phillips mid-season, but it wasn’t enough to win consistently. My key player, Kenta Maeda, was better than his 8-14 record would indicate.

6. Yokohama BayStars (6) — The one prediction I nailed, except that I thought they’d be a little more competitive this year. Wrong. Yokohama was again a doormat, suffering to the tune of a .354 winning percentage, getting outscored by 188 runs and losing it’s manager in the process. My key man, Hayato Terahara, was limited to 83 innings of work.

Synopsis: I guess I was close enough on everything except Chunichi and Hanshin.I thought the league would be a little more competitive, but the way things played out Yomiuri and Chunichi were way ahead of everyone else.

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Offseason Changes: Tokyo Yakult Swallows

» 10 February 2009 » In npb » 2 Comments

Coming: Jaime D’Antona, Hei-Chun Lee, Ricky Barrett, Ryoji Aikawa, Ryosuke Morioka

Going: Adam Riggs, Dicky Gonzales, Sean Douglass, Wilson Valdez

Staying: Aaron Guiel, Chang Yong Lim, Ryota Igarashi

Trending: slightly upward

Synopsis: Aikawa arrives to give Yakult their first regular catcher since Atsuya Furuta retired, while hope springs eternal for untested foreigners D’Antona, Lee, and Barrett. I don’t think any of these guys puts Yakult into playoff contention, but they should be more effective than the group they replace.

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Offseason Changes: Yomiuri Giants

» 02 February 2009 » In npb » Comments Off

Coming: Micheal Nakamura, Takahito Kudoh, Dicky Gonzales, Edgardo Alfonzo (maybe), Levi Romero (maybe)

Going: Koji Uehara, Makoto Kosaka, Takayuki Shimizu, Tomohiro Nioka, Masanori Hayashi, Ken Kadokura, Shigeki Noguchi

Staying: Marc Kroon, Sung-Yeop Lee, Alex Ramirez, Seth Greisinger

Trending: upward

Synopsis: Uehara is the only guy they will notice is gone, and Nakamura will mostly balance out his loss. Strong group of foreign players will be back in 2009. Of the departures, only Hayashi is under 30.

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NPB Bullet Points (2008/08/18)

» 18 August 2008 » In npb » 1 Comment

Only a few articles I’d like to share today, and all of them are in Japanese:

  • Found a new Marines blog this evening. I didn’t even read the entry, I just like the pictures of Shunsuke Watanabe ptiching: particularly this one and this one.
  • Orix Slugger Kazuhiro Kiyohara formally announced his retirement, on his 41st birthday before an away game against his first team, Seibu. “I really appreciate being able to celebrate my birthday in my last season at Seibu Dome,” said Kiyohara.
  • Chunichi Dragons relief ace Kazuki Yoshimi is doing a rehab stint in the minors and gearing up for a return to the top team. He went down with arm pain on July 21, and his return would be a boost the the Dragons.
  • Yakult pitcher Dicky Gonzales made his first appearance in nearly two years on August 17, giving up 4 runs in 5 innings pitched. I’m actually a bit surprised that Yakult stuck with Gonzales, who is coming off elbow surgery. It’s a rarity for a Japanese team to show that kind of commitment to a foreign player.
  • Yomiuri Giants outfielder Alex Ramirez has met the service time requirements for free agency. He’s under contract with the Giants for next year, so he won’t be a free agent, but he will no longer count against the foreign player limit. Ramirez becomes the third player, after Taigen Kaku and Tuffy Rhodes to shred his foreign player status under the service time exception.
  • Hiroshima Carp Manager Marty Brown has returned to America temporarily due to the sudden death of his mother. My condolences go out to Marty and his family.

Up next for NPB Tracker: an Olympics summary, a look at high pitch counts in Japan, and English-language blogs of NPB players.

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